With the upcoming M&H nuptials (Meghan and Harry to all those anglophiles out there), we thought it’s the perfect time to update you on all that’s awesome about ‘taking tea’ with the kiddies in NYC. And we know it sounds counterintuitive, but there’s absolutely nothing stuffy about sitting down for savory and sweet treats served on the most ladylike of tiered trays. In fact, we promise that even the squirmiest kids will settle down (and chow down) once they see the see the mouth-watering array of tea sandwiches, scones and pastries that await. Read on as we tour the sweetest spots to take tea in town.
The Russian Tea Room
As soon as you take a seat in this historic restaurant, founded in 1927 by members of the Russian Imperial Ballet, you’ll feel how old-world it is. And then there’s the food. You’ll be wowed by tea here, which includes a caviar and blini starter, followed by a generous array of tea sandwiches and scones, cupcakes and petits fours. Your kid (12 and under only) will go bananas for the Children’s Tea, which includes a carousel of tea sandwiches (like a miniature BLT and PB&J on blini), crisp apple slices with creamy caramel, a red velvet cupcake and, the finale, chocolate mousse topped with mixed berries.
150 West 57th Street (at Seventh Avenue)
Take tea in The Gallery at this Upper East Side hotel and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped across the pond to enjoy a European tea. This sophisticated space is inspired by a Sultan’s dining room in Turkey and, while it’s known for its Madeline Tea in the Fall, don’t wait ‘til the leaves change to try the Afternoon tea featuring a generous selection of tea sandwiches (the egg salad is divine), English Scones (served with Devonshire cream and strawberry preserves) and miniature pastries.
35 East 76th Street (at Madison Avenue)
Upper East Side
This may be seen as more of a place for ladies-who-tea, but Lady Mendl’s (in the Inn at Irving Place) is actually quite ready to host you and your family, provided your little one can manage to sit still for the 90-minute seating. Housed in what feels like your great aunt’s gorgeous brownstone (or a scene from Downton Abbey), tea at Lady Mendl’s means an afternoon spent amidst pinks and flowers, floral wallpaper and candles. Tea includes cucumber sandwiches with mint crème fraiche on brioche, traditional scones, Lady Mendl’s Signature Cake and, if that isn’t enough, assorted cookies and chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert.
56 Irving Place (between 17th and 18th Streets)
The crown jewel of tea spots, tea at the historic Plaza Hotel is a fave. Girls pack into this retreat from the hustle bustle of Midtown, dressed in the cutest of party dresses while little boys dress up in their best suits and ties—there’s just something ceremonial about tea here. The Classic Tea features sandwiches including a truly tasty roast beef and horseradish and smoked salmon and endive, not to mention some of the tastiest scones, served warm, in town. The New Yorker pays homage to the city’s finest, including black and white cookies, mini cannoli and chocolate cupcakes. But it’s the Eloise Tea for kids under 12 served daily from noon to 4:45 PM that’s a must-taste. We’re talking grilled cheese, organic PB&J mini sandwiches, sweets and cold pink lemonade (plus a cotton candy treat)—all served in a room filled with kids, moms and grandmas dressed up and ready for an elegant afternoon set beneath the most gorgeous of stained glass skylight.
Fifth Avenue at Central Park South
American Girl Cafe
If it’s simply not a tea party without your resident American Girl doll, why not head to where the AG magic happens (and where they have special chairs for the dolls) at the brand’s flagship store in Rockefeller Center. Afternoon tea comes with mini pastries and finger sandwiches, and is $21 per person plus tax and gratuity. (It's $5 more if you want a mimosa or champagne.) The store also hosts special “Wellie Wishers Friendship Tea Parties” for ages five and up that include a special menu, crafts, Wellie wisher conversation cards, and “mud pie” flower pot dessert and Wellie Wisher cookies. Reservations are required for both.
75 Rockefeller Plaza
Alice’s Tea Cup
No tea in New York City story is complete without a trip to Alice’s. These whimsical tea salons, located in three Uptown locations, are as cozy as they are open, airy tributes to all things Alice in Wonderland. And, to say Alice’s is geared to kids is an understatement. Alice’s Wee Tea boasts a list of unique sandwiches, like homemade peanut butter and preserves on banana bread, herbal or fruit tea, scone with preserves and cream (every day the bakers here cook up some tasty treats as banana chocolate chip and, even vegan strawberry) and dark chocolate mousse. Order The Nibble and you’ll savor a pot of tea, a scone with preserves and cream, a choice of sandwich and assorted cookies.
Chapter 1: 102 West 73rd St. (off Columbus Avenue)
Chapter 2: 156 E. 64th St. (off Lexington Avenue)
Chapter 3: 220 E. 81st St. (between Second and Third Avenues)
At Two E, the posh hotel’s living room space, your little one will be treated to the most traditional of afternoon tea services. It’s as authentic as you can imagine with a full in-house pastry team baking fresh scones and petit fours every morning to serve alongside the hotel’s house-made jam, clotted cream and finger sandwiches. Signature sweets include chocolate cupcakes, red cherry financiers and fresh fruit tartlets. With its classic columns and architectural detailing from when the hotel opened back in 1930, it's as if you’ve been transported to your British grandma’s stately home!
2 East 61st St.
Upper East Side
Which of these fancy spots would be a hit with your little tea drinkers?